How to Easily Put on a Dog Harness: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Easily Put on a Dog Harness: Step-by-Step Guide

By Neil | At 04 Nov 2023 | 219 Hits

To put on a dog harness, slide it over your dog's head and fasten it securely around their body. Now let's dive into the process of putting on a harness to ensure your pup's comfort and safety.

A dog harness is a useful tool for walking your dog, as it provides better control and reduces strain on the neck and throat. In this guide, we will discuss the step-by-step process of putting on a dog harness properly, including adjusting the fit and ensuring it is snug but not too tight.

We will also cover common mistakes to avoid and provide tips for introducing your dog to wearing a harness for the first time. By following these instructions, you can ensure a comfortable and secure fit for your dog's harness.

The Benefits Of Using A Dog Harness

A dog harness is a great tool for pet owners and provides numerous benefits for both you and your furry friend. In this section, we will explore the advantages of using a dog harness when taking your four-legged companion for a walk.

Better Control And Safety During Walks

When it comes to walking your dog, having control over their movements is essential for their safety, as well as the safety of others in the vicinity. A dog harness provides better control as it is designed to distribute the pressure more evenly across your dog's body. With a harness, you can easily guide your dog and prevent them from pulling or straying too far during walks. This added control allows you to navigate busy streets or crowded parks with confidence, keeping your dog safe and secure by your side.

Reduced Strain On The Dog's Neck And Throat

Unlike traditional collars that put pressure on the neck and throat, a dog harness is designed to avoid such strain. By evenly distributing the force on the chest and shoulders, a harness reduces the risk of injuries to your dog's neck, throat, and trachea - especially important for dogs prone to respiratory issues or those with delicate necks. This reduction in strain enhances your dog's comfort during walks, ensuring a pleasant and pain-free experience for them.

Prevents Choking And Coughing

Using a dog harness helps prevent choking and coughing episodes, particularly in dogs that tend to pull or lunge during walks. The pressure applied on the chest by the harness allows for easier breathing and reduces the likelihood of your dog gagging or experiencing difficulty in breathing. Ensuring your dog's airway remains open and unrestricted not only promotes their overall health but also enhances their enjoyment during outdoor adventures.

Minimizes The Risk Of Escaping Or Slipping Out Of The Collar

Dogs have a knack for wriggling out of collars, whether intentionally or accidentally. However, with a well-fitted dog harness, the risk of your furry friend escaping or slipping out is significantly minimized. A harness wraps around the body, providing multiple points of connection, making it harder for your dog to wiggle free. This added security gives you peace of mind during walks, knowing that your dog is comfortably harnessed and less likely to break free.

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Factors To Consider When Choosing A Dog Harness

When it comes to choosing the right dog harness, there are several factors that you need to consider. Your furry friend's comfort and safety should be your top priority, so it's important to find a harness that fits well and is made of durable materials. Additionally, the type of harness and its adjustability and ease of use are other important factors to keep in mind. Let's delve into each of these factors in more detail:

Size And Fit

The size and fit of the harness are crucial for your dog's comfort and safety. You need to ensure that the harness fits snugly but not too tightly, allowing your dog to move comfortably without any restriction. A harness that is too loose may slip off, while a harness that is too tight can be uncomfortable and even cause chafing. Measure your dog's chest and neck accurately to find the right size harness, and refer to the manufacturer's sizing guide for guidance if needed. Remember, each harness brand may have slightly different sizing, so it's important to double-check and get the perfect fit for your furry companion.

Material And Durability

The material and durability of the harness are important considerations, especially if your dog is active or tends to pull. You'll want a harness made of sturdy and durable materials that can withstand everyday wear and tear. Nylon and polyester are popular choices as they are strong, lightweight, and resistant to stains and odors. Look for reinforced stitching and quality hardware such as D-rings and buckles that won't break easily. Additionally, if your dog loves to swim or play in the water, consider a harness that is water-resistant or quick-drying to ensure it doesn't get easily damaged or retain moisture.

Type Of Harness (back-clip, Front-clip, Or Dual-clip)

The type of harness you choose depends on your training goals and your dog's behavior. There are three main types of harnesses: back-clip, front-clip, and dual-clip harnesses. Back-clip harnesses have a D-ring on the back, making them easy to put on and suitable for dogs who walk well on a leash. Front-clip harnesses have a D-ring on the chest, which helps redirect your dog's pulling behavior and encourages them to walk by your side. Dual-clip harnesses combine both the back-clip and front-clip options, offering versatility in training. Consider your dog's walking style and training needs when deciding which type of harness will work best for you and your furry friend.

Adjustability And Ease Of Use

Lastly, it's important to choose a harness that is adjustable and easy to put on and take off. A harness with adjustable straps allows you to customize the fit as your dog grows or if you have multiple dogs of different sizes. Look for harnesses with quick-release buckles that make the process of putting the harness on and taking it off hassle-free. The more comfortable and easier it is to use the harness, the more your dog will appreciate it.

By considering these factors, you can ensure that you choose the right dog harness for your furry friend. Remember, a well-fitting and durable harness will not only keep your dog safe and comfortable during walks but also make the whole experience more enjoyable for both of you!

Step 1: Familiarize Your Dog With The Harness

Introducing your dog to a harness can seem like a daunting task, especially if your furry friend is not accustomed to wearing one. However, with a few simple steps and the right approach, you can make the process a positive and stress-free experience for both you and your dog. Step 1 involves gradually familiarizing your dog with the harness, ensuring they associate it with positive experiences. By using positive reinforcement techniques, you can help your dog feel comfortable and confident while wearing their new harness.

Introducing The Harness Gradually

When introducing the harness to your dog, it's important to take things slow and approach the process gradually. This allows your dog the time they need to adjust to the new sensation and prevents overwhelming them. Begin by placing the harness near your dog during their mealtime or playtime. Allow them to sniff and investigate the harness at their own pace. This gradual introduction helps build a positive association with the harness, as your dog begins to view it as a normal and familiar part of their environment.

Once your dog is comfortable with the sight and smell of the harness, it's time to move on to the next step: touching. Gently touch the harness to your dog's body, starting with their back or chest area. Use soft, reassuring strokes, and provide plenty of praise and treats to reinforce positive behavior. Gradually increase the duration of these touch sessions, ensuring your dog remains relaxed and at ease throughout the process.

Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques

Positive reinforcement plays a crucial role in familiarizing your dog with their new harness. This training method focuses on rewarding desired behaviors and encourages your dog to associate the harness with positive experiences. Whenever your dog shows curiosity or calmness around the harness, reward them with a treat or verbal praise. Make sure to use a reward that your dog finds particularly enticing, as this will further reinforce their positive connection with the harness.

In addition to treats, you can also incorporate playtime or a favorite toy as a reward for your dog's cooperation. Engage in their favorite activities while they have the harness on, further reinforcing positive associations. By using positive reinforcement techniques consistently, you can build your dog's confidence and create a positive experience around wearing the harness.

Remember to be patient and allow your dog the time they need to adjust to the harness. Each dog will take a different amount of time to become fully comfortable, so it's important not to rush the process. With consistent positive reinforcement, gradual introduction, and lots of patience, you can help your dog embrace their new harness with confidence and ease.

Step 2: Identify The Front And Back Of The Harness

Understanding The Design And Components Of The Harness

Before we dive into identifying the front and back of the dog harness, it's crucial to understand the design and components of this essential pet accessory. A harness typically consists of straps, buckles, and other attachments that provide a secure and comfortable fit for your furry friend. It is designed to distribute the pressure evenly across their chest and back, preventing any strain on their neck or throat, unlike traditional collars. This makes it an excellent choice for dogs of all sizes, particularly ones prone to pulling during walks or those with respiratory issues. Now that we're familiar with the basics, let's move on to locating the front and back straps.

Locating The Front And Back Straps

Identifying the front and back straps of a dog harness is crucial for ensuring that it fits properly and functions as intended. Let's break down the process into a few simple steps:

  1. Hold the harness with the straps facing upwards. This will allow you to have a clear view of the different components.
  2. The front strap is typically shorter in length compared to the back strap. It is usually located closer to the dog's neck area.
  3. The back strap, on the other hand, is longer and rests along the dog's back.
  4. Some harnesses may have labels or tags indicating which strap is the front or back. Be sure to check for any markings that can provide additional guidance.
  5. In case there are no labels or noticeable differences in length, examine the harness for any distinctive features. This may include padding on specific straps or additional attachments for leash or handle placements.

By following these steps, you can easily identify the front and back of the harness, allowing you to put it on your furry friend with ease and confidence.

Step 3: Loosen All The Straps

Creating A Comfortable Fit For Your Dog

Once you have properly adjusted the size of the harness according to your dog's measurements, the next step is to ensure that it fits comfortably on your furry friend. This will help prevent any discomfort or irritation during walks or other activities. To achieve a comfortable fit, it is crucial to loosen all the straps until you can easily slide two fingers between the harness and your dog's body. This will provide enough room for movement while still maintaining a secure fit. So, let's dive into step 3: loosening all the straps.

  1. Starting with the chest strap, locate the adjustable buckle and release the tension by gently pulling on the strap.
  2. Once you have loosened the chest strap, move on to the side straps. Loosen them by pulling the adjuster buckle or sliding the strap through its slider until you achieve a relaxed fit.
  3. Do the same for the belly strap, ensuring it is not too tight around your dog's belly.
  4. Lastly, check the shoulder straps and adjust them accordingly. These straps should be snug but not too tight, allowing your dog to move their shoulders freely.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your dog's harness is comfortable and does not cause any chafing or rubbing. Remember, a well-fitted harness will provide the necessary support without compromising your dog's comfort. Creating a comfortable fit for your dog will not only make them feel at ease but also enhance their overall experience during walks or other activities. It is important to periodically check the fit of the harness, especially as your dog grows or if they gain/lose weight. A properly adjusted harness will allow your dog to enjoy their outdoor adventures without any discomfort or restriction. So, don't rush through this step! Take your time to ensure each strap is adequately loosened, providing your dog with the comfort they deserve.

How to Easily Put on a Dog Harness: Step-by-Step Guide


Step 4: Place The Harness On Your Dog

Once you have familiarized yourself with attaching the harness to your dog, it's time to move on to the actual process of placing it on your furry friend. This step is crucial to ensure that the harness fits securely and comfortably. Follow the simple instructions below to ensure a hassle-free experience for both you and your dog.

Slipping The Harness Over Your Dog's Head

One of the first things you need to do is to slip the harness over your dog's head. This step may sound easy, but it's important to be gentle and patient, especially if your dog is a bit apprehensive. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Make sure the harness is fully open and unbuckled.
  2. Hold the harness by the neck opening, making sure the clips are facing forward.
  3. Slowly and carefully guide your dog's head through the neck opening.
  4. Once the head is through, gently pull the harness to slide it down the body.

Remember, it's important to be patient and reassuring during this process, especially if it's your dog's first time wearing a harness. Offer treats and praise to make it a positive experience.

Positioning The Straps Correctly Around The Body

To ensure that the harness is properly secured and comfortable for your furry companion, you need to position the straps correctly around their body. Here's how you can do it:

  1. Ensure the harness is centered on your dog's back.
  2. Bring the two straps underneath your dog's belly and fasten the clips securely.
  3. Adjust the straps so they are snug but not too tight. You should be able to fit one or two fingers between the straps and your dog's body.
  4. Double-check that all the buckles and clasps are properly fastened.

Proper positioning is essential for your dog's comfort and safety. Tight straps can be uncomfortable, while loose straps can allow your dog to escape or cause chafing. Take the time to ensure a secure and snug fit before proceeding. Remember, practice makes perfect! Putting on a dog harness may seem daunting at first, but with consistent practice, it will become second nature to both you and your furry companion. Stay patient, use positive reinforcement, and always prioritize your dog's comfort.

Step 5: Secure The Harness

Now that you have properly adjusted the straps, it's time to secure the harness on your furry friend. This step ensures that the harness stays in place, providing your dog with maximum comfort and safety during walks or any outdoor adventures.

Fastening The Buckle Or Clips

To fasten the harness, locate the buckle or clips on the harness. These are typically found on the side or chest area. Insert the prong or latch into the corresponding hole or slot, and make sure it is securely fastened. You should hear a click or snap sound when the buckle or clips are properly closed.

  • Insert the prong into the hole or latch the clip on the corresponding slot.
  • Ensure the buckle or clips are securely fastened.
  • Listen for a click or snap sound.

Adjusting The Straps For A Snug Fit

After fastening the buckle or clips, it's crucial to ensure the harness fits snugly but not too tight on your dog's body. You want the straps to be snug enough to prevent slipping or escaping, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.

  1. Check for any loose or dangling straps that need adjustment.
  2. Gently pull on the straps to tighten them, ensuring a secure fit.
  3. Avoid over-tightening, as it may cause discomfort or restrict movement.

Double-checking The Tightness And Alignment Of The Harness

Before heading out, take a moment to double-check the tightness and alignment of the harness. This ensures that it is properly fitted and won't cause any irritation or discomfort for your beloved furry friend.

  • Ensure the harness is aligned straight along your dog's body.
  • Check that the straps are snug but not too tight.
  • Make sure there is enough space between the harness and your dog's skin.

By following these steps, you can properly secure the harness on your dog, ensuring a comfortable and safe experience for both of you during your outdoor activities. Always remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions for your specific harness model, as the securing process may vary slightly.

Common Issues And Solutions

When it comes to walking your furry friend, a dog harness is a great choice over a traditional collar. It provides better control and minimizes the risk of injury to your dog's neck. However, like any other piece of equipment, dog harnesses can sometimes come with their own set of challenges.

Harness Twisting Or Slipping:

One common issue dog owners may face is the twisting or slipping of the harness during walks. This can be frustrating and even dangerous if your dog becomes tangled or manages to escape. To prevent this problem, there are a few simple solutions you can try:

  1. Ensure you have selected the correct size of harness for your dog. A harness that is too loose or too tight will be more likely to twist or slip. Take accurate measurements of your dog's chest and neck to find the right fit.
  2. Properly adjust the straps of the harness to fit snugly around your dog's body. Check that the buckles and fastenings are secure before heading out for a walk.
  3. If you find that the harness still tends to twist or slip, consider using a harness with additional attachment points, such as a front clip or a dual-clip harness. These extra points of connection distribute the pulling force more evenly and reduces the chances of the harness slipping.

Dog Trying To Back Out Of The Harness:

Another challenge dog owners may face is a clever dog who attempts to back out of their harness. This behavior can be a safety concern, especially if your dog gets loose while out on a walk. Fortunately, there are ways to address this issue:

  • Make sure you have properly adjusted the harness to fit your dog. A snug fit is essential to prevent them from slipping out of it.
  • Consider using a harness that has a martingale loop or a belly strap. These additional features provide extra security and prevent dogs from slipping out of the harness.
  • If your dog continues to attempt to back out of the harness, try using positive reinforcement training techniques to encourage them to accept and enjoy wearing the harness. Reward them with treats or praise when they are calm and walk nicely with the harness.

Adjusting The Fit For Growing Puppies Or Weight Changes:

One challenge that many dog owners face is adjusting the fit of the harness as their puppies grow or their dogs experience weight changes. It's important to regularly check and update the fit to ensure your dog remains comfortable and secure:

  1. As a general rule, if your puppy is still growing, check their harness frequently to make sure it is not too tight or too loose. Adjust the straps accordingly as they continue to develop.
  2. For adult dogs that experience weight gain or loss, check the fit of the harness regularly. You may need to loosen or tighten the straps to maintain a secure and comfortable fit as their body shape changes.
  3. If you find that your dog's harness no longer fits properly, consider purchasing a new one that matches their current size and body shape. It's important to prioritize your dog's comfort and safety.

Additional Advice For Harness Use

Additional Advice for Harness Use

Aside from knowing how to correctly put on a dog harness, there are a few other factors to consider to ensure your furry friend's comfort and safety. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

Gradual Leash Training For Better Control

Leash training is essential for both the dog's safety and your control. When it comes to using a harness, taking a gradual approach is highly recommended. Start by introducing your dog to the harness in a calm and quiet environment. Allow them to sniff and inspect it so they become familiar with the new gear. Once they are comfortable, gently put the harness on and reward them with praise or treats. Each time you put on the harness, keep lengthening the duration your dog wears it until they are accustomed to having it on for longer periods.

Regularly Inspecting The Harness For Wear And Tear

Just like any piece of equipment, a dog harness can experience wear and tear over time. Regularly inspecting the harness ensures it remains in good condition and prevents any unexpected mishaps. Check for any frayed seams or loose buckles, as these can compromise the harness's effectiveness. Additionally, inspect the fit to ensure it hasn't become too tight or loose. Address any issues immediately by either repairing or replacing the harness as necessary.

Proper Storage And Cleaning Recommendations

To keep your dog's harness in top-notch condition, proper storage and regular cleaning are important. When not in use, store the harness in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. This helps preserve the integrity of the materials and prevents mold or mildew growth. When it comes to cleaning, follow the manufacturer's instructions. Most harnesses can be hand-washed using mild detergent and warm water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as these can damage the fabric and compromise the harness's safety.

In conclusion, by following these additional tips, you can ensure the long-lasting performance and comfort of your dog's harness. Gradual leash training, regular inspections, and proper storage and cleaning practices will help keep your furry friend safe and happy during your daily walks and adventures together.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Put On A Dog Harness

Q: How Do You Put On A Dog Harness?

A: To put on a dog harness, first, slip the harness over your dog's head. Then, bring the straps under the dog's chest, crossing them at the back. Fasten the straps securely and make sure the harness fits snugly but not too tight.

Finally, attach the leash to the harness and you're ready to go!

Q: Why Is A Dog Harness Better Than A Collar?

A: A dog harness is better than a collar because it reduces strain on the neck and throat area, which is especially important for dogs with respiratory issues or small breeds prone to tracheal collapse. It also provides better control and prevents pulling, making walks more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

Q: What Size Dog Harness Should I Get?

A: To determine the correct size of a dog harness, measure your dog's girth (the widest part of their chest) and consult the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer. It's essential to choose a harness that fits snugly but allows your dog to move comfortably.

Sizing can vary between brands, so always double-check before making a purchase.

Q: Can A Dog Wear A Harness All Day?

A: Yes, a dog can wear a harness all day as long as it's properly fitted and comfortable for them. However, it's recommended to give your dog regular breaks and remove the harness when they are resting or sleeping. This helps prevent any skin irritation, allows their fur to breathe, and gives them some time without any restrictions.


To sum up, putting on a dog harness may seem daunting at first, but with the right technique, it becomes a simple task. Remember to choose the right harness size, adjust it properly, and introduce it gradually to your furry friend.

By following these steps, you can ensure your dog's safety, comfort, and a pleasant walking experience for both of you. Happy harnessing!